Incorporating Consumer Trends into Your Marketing Plan

Paying attention to what consumers want isn’t only useful for discovering new markets. It can also help you develop a marketing plan that’s fully in tune with your ideal clients’ needs and interests.

Do Your Research

To get real value from using consumer trends in your marketing, you need to know what the relevant trends are. Your intuition about what’s trending is a good place to start, but make sure you can back it up with hard data before you incorporate it into your marketing. Maybe you’ve heard demand for co-working spaces is booming, but are you sure that’s true for your area? Review the market data, interview suppliers, and hold focus groups to really get to know if a trend you’ve spotted is worth paying attention.

Focus specifically on your target market. Millennials looking to build their first homes set very different trends than older couples who want to remodel their homes for convenience as they age.

Review Your Whole Plan

Every part of your marketing plan can take inspiration from consumer trends. New trends can open up new target markets. For example, you might take advantage of the growing escape room trend by putting together a package detailing how your company can build one. With the ever-increasing concern for environmental sustainability, it’s worth emphasizing your eco-friendly materials and methods in your marketing material.

Look to trends to guide you on where and how to market. Instead of sending postcards with a single marketing message, include a QR code that ties your message into a larger digital campaign. On social media, pay attention to what types of posts are trending.

Trends can also influence your voice. Today’s consumers are generally put off by formal, traditional advertising and drawn to transparency and authenticity, which calls for a more conversational voice. Style trends matter, too. Make sure your website and other marketing material doesn’t look like something from the mid-90s or your prospects might wonder if your construction methods are equally out of date.

Most Requested Sustainable Features in New Homes

smart appliancesAs homebuyers become more aware of how eco-friendly features can save them money and protect the environment, demand for these features is rising steadily. Including commonly requested sustainable features in new homes is one way to attract attention from informed homebuyers.

Low-E Windows

Low-E (low emissivity) windows are treated with a coating that improves their ability to reflect radiant energy. The coating holds energy in on the same side of the window it came from. In summer, the windows reflect the sun’s heat back to the outdoors. In winter, they reflect warmth back into the room.

Windows are one of the biggest sources of unwanted heat gain and loss in a house. These energy-efficient windows can reduce energy loss by 30 to 50 percent, yet only cost around 12 percent more than standard windows.

Smart Appliances

Modern technology can do a lot to make a home more comfortable and convenient, and today’s homebuyers know it. In their search for new homes, they’ve come to expect smart, WiFi-enabled appliances that can adjust to the homeowner’s needs and be accessed remotely.

One of the most cost-effective options to install is a smart programmable thermostat that offers precision control over indoor temperatures.

Smart refrigerators that allow for remote monitoring and control are another good choice. Washers and dryers with smart technology that can adjust their cycles based on the homeowner’s remote input are also among the popular sustainable features in new homes.

Alternative Energy Options

As solar, geothermal and wind energy become more accessible, homebuyers are coming to expect options like these. One way to meet this demand is by installing photovoltaic solar panels on the roof. The cost of solar technology is dropping steadily, making it an increasingly practical option.

Geothermal heat pumps paired with radiant floor heating are also sought after for the exceptional comfort and efficiency this combination provides. Because underfloor heating is so much less costly to install in a new construction than to retrofit, homebuyers benefit if it’s already installed.

For more tips on including sustainable features in new homes, contact us at Construction Monitor.

Best Practices for Contractor Websites

While word of mouth might be the biggest part of your current construction marketing plan, it shouldn’t be the only one. Your website has the potential to be a major source of construction leads, but only if you give it the power to do so.

construction marketingDesign That Draws Clients

Make a good first impression with a website design that’s up-to-date and consistent in appearance, and that loads quickly. A site with no cohesive color scheme, or one that’s cluttered or full of bland stock photos detracts from your professional image.

If your site is like most, some 35 percent of your visitors are viewing on mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets. Make sure your site is optimized for mobile so these visitors stick around.

From the design, text and images on your site, it should be immediately apparent who you are, what you do and who your target clients are. To pull in construction leads, the design should lead visitors on a clear path to a specific action, such as filling in a contact form.

Get familiar with the major factors affecting your ranking in Google so clients can find you more easily. This includes keyword placement, update frequency, image optimization, and outbound links to authority sites.

Content That Connects

In addition to providing information about your company, your website should act as a useful resource for your target market. Offering educational content encourages your clients to view you as knowledgeable, helpful and trustworthy.

Instead of hiding behind a corporate facade, let your visitors get to know the human side of your company. Include an in-depth “About” page, pictures of the company owners and employees, and photos of the office and equipment. Letting people see the real you builds trust and helps your visitors remember you — both critical factors in construction marketing online.

To further build trust, include testimonials from former clients and links to reviews of your company on other websites, such as the Better Business Bureau.

For more tips on effective construction marketing, contact Construction Monitor today.

How Nest is Changing Smart Home Technology

Home technology company Nest is well known for producing some of the most useful cutting-edge devices for the residential market. Now, further advances in some of their most popular smart home technology products are making even more positive changes in how residents control and interact with their environment.

Home Automation

smart home technologyNest’s smart devices offer unprecedented control and automation, integrated seamlessly with other personal technology such as cell phones. Two new features added to Nest’s line of home technology products are making it even easier for homeowners to interact with their devices and enjoy the benefits of connectedness and automation.

In an article in Fortune, writer Stacey Higginbotham reports that Nest will add a way for more than one person to control the residence’s overall Nest account. The second addition uses geolocation to improve the Nest thermostat’s ability to tell if anyone is home and to make temperature adjustments accordingly.

The Nest Family Account allows up to 10 people to control the home’s Nest devices. This represents an evolution in thinking about home technology products that have typically allowed only one user to control operation, Higginbotham observed. The Family Account gives wider control for Nest’s thermostats, security cameras and smoke detectors.

The new feature added to Nest’s thermostats uses geolocation associated with users’ smartphones to determine if someone is in the residence. This technology is more accurate than the sensors and algorithms that Nest has previously used to detect someone’s presence in the home, Higginbotham noted.

Energy-Saving Improvements

This improvement in thermostat function reduces the chance that the thermostat will shift to energy-saving Away Mode even if someone is there. It also removes problems with temperature settings that could result if the thermostat was in an out-of-the-way location or installed in a place where it would be difficult to get accurate sensor readings.

Construction Monitor helps construction professionals stay up-to-date with the most recent information on technological developments that affect the industry now and in the future. Contact us today for more information on smart home technology and how the advances in this important area will change how residential spaces are built and lived in.

The Latest in International Green Building Trends

Thanks in part to both consumer and governmental influence, green building trends are increasingly relevant to today’s construction professionals. Understanding how these trends vary around the world will help you better plan for your company’s future at home and abroad.

green building trendsDriving Factors for Green Growth

In many developed economies, including the US, UK, Germany and Poland, the green building market has already reached a certain level of maturity, but continues to see moderate expansion. Developing economies, including Mexico, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and China have seen a much sharper increase in the percentage of construction projects that will meet green standards.

For most construction firms around the world, the top trigger for undertaking a green building project is client demand. The percentage of firms citing this trigger rose from 35 percent in 2012 to 40 percent in 2015. Increasingly strict environmental regulations are also encouraging investment in green projects.

In both cases, technological advancements support these green building trends. Both Germany and the UK plan to make BIM the standard for the design and management of construction projects, while Brazil and Saudi Arabia are moving in that direction.

Where the Jobs Are

Commercial construction, which includes office buildings, retail stores and hotels, is the top sector for green building worldwide. Some 46 percent of construction contractors expect to work on a green commercial project in the next three years. These projects are likely to be particularly popular in Germany, Poland, China and India. The UK and Australia, on the other hand, expect to see little in the way of new green commercial construction.

Institutional construction, such as schools and other government buildings, is the second strongest sector worldwide. In the US, however, it’s the sector where the highest percentage percentage of green construction projects are expected. 46 percent of US construction firms expect to take on a green institutional project in the next three years.

Retrofitting of existing buildings ranks as the third sector over all, but comes in first in the UK, South Africa and Singapore.

For more information on green building trends, contact Construction Monitor today.

New York City Lifts Ban on Cranes

Following a fatal accident, the use of crawler cranes in New York City was placed under exceptionally strict regulations. These regulations quickly became unpopular with construction contractors and crane companies who found they provided little benefit. Now the regulations are set to be replaced.

crane companiesTragedy Brings Stricter Regulations

On February 5th, 2016, a nearly 600-foot crawler crane collapsed as it was being lowered as a precaution against approaching 25-mile per hour winds. The collapse caused damage for a full city block, ending in several injuries and one death.

In response, the New York Department of Buildings ordered crawler cranes to be shut down and stored whenever winds were forecast to surpass 20 miles per hour or if gusts surpassed 30 miles per hour. Operators were to put the cranes into safety mode then secure them the day before high winds were forecast. Penalties for disregarding these regulations were increased from  $4,800 to $10,000.

Better Crane Regulations Ahead

Wind speeds of 20 miles per hour are a frequent occurrence in New York. So frequent, in fact, construction contractors found themselves shutting down their cranes on a regular basis to comply with the new regulations. These shutdowns caused delays leading to logistical and financial issues. Worse yet, some contractors and crane companies feel the regulations don’t necessarily improve safety.

Mayor Bill de Blasio assembled a task force to review and revise the city’s crane regulations, but the panel was criticized for its lack of crane experts. This task force has recommended returning, in part, to the old regulations which state that cranes must stop operation when winds reach 30 miles per hour or manufacturer’s specified limit.

The task force has also proposed two additional measures. One would require an operator on site unless the crane is designed for winds of 30 miles per hour or higher or it’s in storage mode. The other would prohibit any crawler crane that can’t safely operate in 20-mile per hour winds from use in a public space.

For more information on regulations affecting crane companies and other construction professionals, contact Construction Monitor today.

5 Green Construction Trends To Look Out For

The big push in green construction throughout 2016 will put an emphasis on creating energy-efficient buildings that have a low-impact on the health of the environment. Sustainability and energy efficiency are becoming more important to business, governments and consumers around the world. This opens up the possibility for new products that are environmentally responsible. Each year, more firms are shifting their focus to green building. In 2008, only 13 percent focused on green buildings. In 2013, the trend increases to 28 percent. 2015 reports showed as high as 51 percent of respondents aimed to include green building practices. Those who watch construction trends will benefit from keeping their eye out on a few key developments.

Sustainable and GreenSingle-Family Home Construction

Green construction is booming, and construction companies that take advantage of green trends will see greater profit margins. Companies are beginning to use more sustainable building materials since consumers are demonstrating that they are willing to pay for efficient buildings. This can include recycled content, easily replenishable resources, locally available materials and salvaged materials. Choosing companies that carefully regulate their resource uses is important to consumers, and it can result in a better outlook for the environment.

Smarter Technology

Homes are beginning to make better use of technology to anticipate the needs of the occupants. In home building, it’s becoming more common to integrate lights that shut off when nobody is in the room and use an economical heating and cooling system that adjusts to occupants. Construction crews are also using advanced technology to create plans and test designs for any issues. Designers can quickly change materials used in the building process to find the most economical and environmentally-friendly option for each project.

Emphasis on Renovations

In the field of construction, there is an increase in the trend toward renovations. This offers a more economical option for upgrading a location, and the process may add new technologies to make the building more environmentally friendly. With renovations. most of the original structure remains intact, but key elements like insulation and electrical systems can be upgraded to provide better energy efficiency. Entire heating and cooling units can be replaced, and the building gains from increased overall efficiency. Remodels are popular when renovating a building, and there are various enhancements that can be used to reduce mold, use durable materials and making the most of energy utility usage.

Multi-Family Housing

Single family homes are expensive to build, and they can have a negative environmental impact. Multi-family homes solve this problem by dividing a home into more than one smaller units. These homes still offer the convenience and privacy of a home, but they take up less room and many of the resources can be shared between homeowners. Green multi-family homes are expected to increase to 79 percent of all multi-family homes that are built by 2018. Customers are willing to pay for green homes, and customers can save even more money when the cost of homeownership is reduced through the selling of multi-family homes.

High-Efficiency Products

Air conditioners, heating systems, electrical systems and alternate fuels can help reduce energy expenditures and make a building green. Consumers have shown an interest in paying for technology that can reduce their environmental impact. As the technology becomes more widespread, it will also become cheaper to produce. By taking advantage of the current interest in high-efficiency products and green construction techniques, construction companies can increase their profits while providing customers with what they need.

The market is continuing to favor green building. Construction companies that don’t take advantage of these trends are going to find themselves left behind as other companies begin to incorporate green technology in their homes and buildings. Buildings that offer renewable energy are on the rise, and the future of green building will require an initial investment in new technology and building techniques. However, the future of green building is bright as consumers continue to demand more energy-efficient building practices.

Are 3D Printed Houses the Next Big Thing?

The advances in 3D printing technology have given engineers, designers and hobbyists the ability to imagine and produce objects on a small scale. In several cities around the world, however, 3D printing in the construction industry is becoming more widely accepted as its benefits become clearer.

3d printing in the construction industryArchitectural 3D printing can allow the construction of multiple structures with unprecedented speed, efficiency and cost savings. For example, a Chinese company, WinSun, claimed that it was able to build 10 houses in 24 hours using a proprietary 3D printing system, according to a January 19, 2015 article by reporter Michelle Starr on the CNET website.

Even more remarkably, the houses built by WinSun were very inexpensive, costing only $5,000 each, according to information in an article on the Business Insider website.

Other major projects using 3D architectural printing have been noted in Germany, the Netherlands, Dubai and Singapore.

In the United States, 3D printing of houses and buildings has sparked interest among advocates of zero-energy housing and energy-efficient construction. As in other areas of the world, American builders, owners, and construction professionals are quickly seeing the benefits to using 3D printing of structures.

The technology involved in 3D architectural printing has quickly advanced to the point where entire structures can be built at once. In other contexts, such as the construction of large apartment buildings or high-rise office structures, 3D printing can be used to prefabricate individual rooms or modules that are then assembled as needed.

One of the most appealing benefits of 3D printing is its potential to dramatically reduce the costs of creating a building of almost any size. Materials costs can be slashed through more efficient use of construction materials and through the substantial reduction of waste. Labor costs are also reduced since 3D printing requires fewer workers.

Construction Monitor provides construction managers, building owners, and other professionals with construction leads along with news and data on the construction industry in the United States. Contact us today for more information on 3D printing in the construction industry and how it may affect your business in the years to come.

Can Smart Vests Make Job Sites Safer?

While you might view technology in the construction industry primarily from an efficiency standpoint, some of today’s technology also offers major health and safety benefits. Among these is a smart vest developed to alert wearers to the signs of heat illness before their health suffers.

technology in the construction industryHeat Illness: An Increasingly Common Threat

Unusually high summer temperatures have become more frequent across the country and with them, the risk of heat-related illnesses also rises. This growing threat prompted the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) to launch their annual Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers.

Construction workers are at high risk for heat illness due to the physical labor, protective clothing, and heat-generating equipment involved in the work. Providing your workers with plenty of water, shade and rest time doesn’t eliminate the risk. Workers don’t always realize when their discomfort has reached dangerous levels.

Heat stress causes excessive thirst, weakness, clumsiness, dizziness and nausea. A worker may write these symptoms off as normal fatigue and fail to seek help until they’ve suffered more serious health consequences. In severe cases, the worker may collapse before reaching help.

A new smart vest developed by Ruwini Edirisinghe, a researcher with RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, prevents this situation by alerting the wearer to danger. The vest is thought to be the first of this kind of technology in the construction industry.

How the Smart Vest Protects Your Workers

The smart vest looks like an ordinary yellow safety vest. Built into the fabric are sensors that collect data on the temperature of the working environment, as well as the worker’s body temperature and heart rate. The sensors send the data wirelessly in real time to a smartphone app via Bluetooth. If the app detects any abnormalities, it immediately alerts both the wearer and the site supervisor.

The early warning lets the worker stop and rest before suffering any adverse health effects. Because the supervisor is also alerted, there’s little chance the worker will simply ignore the warning.

To learn more about how technology in the construction industry can benefit you, visit the construction leads experts at Construction Monitor.

Using Case Studies to Generate Leads

In the search for new customers, the company that does the most to solve customer problems and alleviate their “pain points” is the company that will likely get the most new business. Using case studies for lead generation in the construction business allows you to inform your leads on what you do and how you do it, as well as how your products and services will resolve their most important issues.

construction leadsWhat Are Case Studies?

A case study is a detailed account of an event, process, or subject relevant to a specific business. They often focus on how a problem was identified and how it was resolved. Case studies usually spend significant effort describing how the resolution applies to either a customer’s needs or a company’s offerings.

The Structure of Case Studies

Case studies are important tools you can use to tell your potential customers why and how your services can solve their problems. They are often written by professionals and can contain complex information intended to inform sophisticated audiences.

A general structure to use for case studies requires the first 10 percent of the document to be used establishing the client’s background.

Next, about 50 percent of the text should be used to describe, in depth, a very specific problem encountered by a client. This could be a problem that can be applicable in several situations, or it could be specific to a client you’re trying to attract.

The final 40 percent of the case study should describe, again in substantial detail, the solutions applied to the problem and how they resolved the issue. In a custom-written case study, this is where you will have the opportunity to highlight your company’s strengths and how they can help your potential customer.

Construction Monitor serves the construction industry and associated professionals with the most up-to-date information on housing starts, industry best practices and other information that can help a company grow. Contact us today for more information on lead generation in the construction business and how case studies can help you inform and attract potential customers.